User Reviews And Their Effect On Your Business

User reviews are now an important part of the way we decide whether to make an online purchase or not. Today I am pleased to bring you an infographic and article from WebSiteBuilder.org.

In italics, I have added some of my own experiences too, and hope you'll comment with your own thoughts about user reviews and how they affect your purchasing decisions.

Do You Take Account Of User Reviews?

Online reviews help us decide where/what to eat, what to watch, what to buy and what to sell. They have become an integral part of who we are as consumers and business owners. They have a huge impact on how well businesses do or don’t do. They have become the go-to way to make decisions about places we have never been and with the seemingly endless amount of options we have as consumers nowadays, they are one of the only ways to narrow down our choices as consumers. The infographic below shows how consumers read and use online review sites in numbers.

Facts: 68% of millennials trust online reviews most, as opposed to 34% who trust television advertisement and on average they produce an uprise of 18% in sales. In addition, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business which means these decisions being made are made quickly, without much hesitation. My own opinion is that I pay no attention to TV adverts…. I just fast-forward past them, whereas an online review is something I will have actively sought out.

Impact Of Reviews

Online reviews have a huge impact on both businesses and consumers. The impact can be positive or negative. For example, for every star a business gets in their rating, their sales revenue will increase by approximately 5-9%. At the same time, 22% of consumers will not purchase a product after reading just one negative review about it. While I do take notice of negative reviews, it would take more than one to stop me buying – always assuming there were more positive reviews than negative!

Impact of reviews by industry: The top five industries to be affected negatively by online reviews are:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Doctors' offices
  • Hospitals
  • Hair salons

Travel, Health, Restaurants & Jobs: User reviews are used widely by travelers and 59% of consumers say that review sites have the most influence on their booking decisions. Another industry where online reviews are extremely present is the health industry. A whopping 84% of patients say that they use online reviews to evaluate doctors. In addition, restaurants are another industry where online reviews are highly prominent. 61% of consumers have read online reviews about restaurants. This is more than any other business. Lastly, when people are searching for a job, it has been found that 83% of these job seekers are likely to base their decision on where to apply on company reviews and 76% of professionals claim to research a company online before considering a job opportunity.

Best online review sites by industry: There are tons of online review sites in the internet world but they are not all created equal. The best online review site is also different depending on what is being reviewed. For jobs, Glassdoor is in the top spot. For tech, CNET Radio is best. For hotels and motels, Trip Advisor is your best bet. For movies, IMDB. For restaurants, Yelp is number one and for health, Zocdoc comes in first.

Case study analysis: Through some case study analysis we found out just why some of these websites are the best. We found that restaurants that boost their Yelp rating by one star can increase their revenues by 5% to 9%. Furthermore, 98% of consumers found that TripAdvisor hotel reviews accurately reflected their actual experience and 61% of Glassdoor users report that they seek company reviews and ratings before making a decision to apply for a job. That surprised me, but it makes complete sense!

Influence of social media on online reviews: It has become quite apparent that social media has a huge influence on consumers nowadays. In fact, 55% of consumers use Facebook as a place to learn more about brands and when retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, a third of customers either deleted their original negative review or even replaced it with a positive review.

Fake Reviews

A common misconception about online reviews is that they are all genuine reviews. This is simply not the case. Only 27% of consumers will trust an online review if they think it is authentic even though a whopping 30% of online reviews may be fake. In fact, New York regulators settled with 19 companies for $350,000 in total fines in a crackdown on fake reviews.

My User Reviews Experiences

In general I have been happy when using user reviews online to help my purchase decisions.

However, last year I had a situation where I hired a tradesman from a well-known UK site on the basis of his good reviews. I had a terrible experience with him. Perhaps the reviews were fake, or perhaps he got complacent and “went bad”. Whatever happened, several months later the company emailed me to say they had removed him from the site. By then I had wasted many hours and suffered much stress. My own truthful review of his lack of service was never published. The longer-lasting effect is that I no longer use that ratings site. 

The other way that reviews can be false is when you give an honest, but unfavorable, review and the company gets it taken down. This happened to me a year ago – I submitted photos to support my claim, but they were never published. Just a couple of weeks ago a friend was badly treated at a hotel (one she had previously enjoyed staying at). She left a completely factual review, and the review site didn't publish it.

I hope your experiences of user reviews have been better. Please share in the comments after the infographic.

The infographic was produced by WebsiteBuilder.org and is used with their permission.

Your User Reviews Thoughts Please…

I hope you found the above infographic on user reviews interesting. I know I did – thanks to WebSiteBuilder.org for permission to use it.

Please share your own experiences and opinions of user reviews, both offline and online.

Please share

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Mandy Allen - May 22, 2017

I love Trip Advisor and find you can search for pretty much anything on there, not just hotels and restaurants. I use it all the time. I have found on a lot of review sites it seems to only be people who have a complaint who take the time to leave a review! Interesting to read about some sites not publishing negative reviews. That’s not very helpful.

Enjoy the journey!

    Joy - May 25, 2017

    Hi Mandy,
    Trip Advisor is a mine of information!
    I think it’s a shame people only leave negative reviews, but being honest, unless I have had superb service I tend not to leave a review without being prompted to. After all, I paid for the service and feel I have a right to expect it to be up-to-standard. But I do like to reward “above and beyond” service with a good review.
    I suppose there are malicious reviews, and the review sites have to guard against that. It’s hard for them to distinguish between the genuinely bad experiences I had and competitors making mischief.
    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Marquita Herald - May 22, 2017

Wow, there is a lot of information packed into that Infographic! As a published author I have heard it all when it comes to issues relating to reviews, especially of the fake variety, which is a major issue on Amazon. There is no question reviews matter, at the same time when it comes to relying on them we need to be aware of the issues such as those you’ve outlined and find a way to strike a balance in order to learn what we can without allowing ourselves to be misdirected or sent off on a wild goose chase. Thanks for the insights and inspiration!

    Joy - May 25, 2017

    Hi Marquita,

    Glad you enjoyed the infographic.

    By mentioning Amazon you reminded me of one of the most dreadful book reviews I read on Amazon – in fact there were several of the same ilk. People had been sent a “review copy” of a book, and they’d given it a bad review saying they hadn’t even read it because it was too heavy! I mean, really….

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Chery Schmidt - May 23, 2017

Hello Joy! I really enjoyed your infographic girl! I was really surprised with a few things I read, especially the one about restaurant reviews. That is just so crazy, just because one person has a bad experience doesnt mean everyone will Right?

We do live in a Crazy world HUH? Of course I do check out a lot of reviews here online yet it is still up to us, to make the right choices…

Great Job..
Chery :))

    Joy - May 25, 2017

    Hi Chery,

    Tons of surprising facts about reviews weren’t there!

    I agree – it would be crazy to avoid a restaurant because of one bad review. After all, that could be a fake review.

    As you say, we have to apply common sense to the reviews that we read online.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Rose Carter - May 25, 2017

Online reviews help us decide what to do and what not to, in a survey, it has found that people check 2 to 3 reviews and website before buying anything or if they are looking for online services. Even good and bad reviews also play great role in business. the way you have explained each and everything with the help of Inforgraphic is really appreciared. Thanks for the great share.

Rose Carter

    Joy - May 25, 2017

    Hi Rose,

    Yes, I always do check online reviews before buying – but I do like to add my own common sense to the mix, and look if the reviewer may have their own agenda.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Donna Merrill - May 27, 2017

Hi Joy,

Wonderful infographic you’ve shared, and such an interesting topic.

Reviews are critical to the whole trust factor of online sites, and so it’s really important to pay attention to this.

I think Amazon has a great process for ensuring the authenticity of reviews, and it’s why so many people turn to them for feedback when making a buying decision.


    Joy - June 9, 2017

    Hi Donna,
    Yes, I do always feel that Amazon’s reviews are very good, and I spend more time checking out their reviews than most.


Elise Cohen Ho - May 28, 2017

We often look to reviews to get a sense of a place. We always take it with a grain of salt though. It is good to have extra info but you have to determine if you feel it is genuine.

    Joy - June 9, 2017

    Hi Elise,
    I would never base my decision entirely on one or two reviews, and I too like to be sure they’re genuine – having been caught out once or twice before.


Kathryn Maclean - May 28, 2017

Hi Joy,
That was a great article on reviews. A lot of information that I found surprising. What I found interesting was this on the infographic. “Retailers replying to a negative review on social media etc a third of customers deleted the original negative review or
replaced it with the positive review. Nearly a 5th went on to become loyal customers.
Spot a fake review http://fakespot.com/
Facebook users reviews- more reliable than posts or comments 71% trust these.” I write a Facebook business page for my small town businesses and almost never get a bad comment on the businesses. When I looked at a restaurant review on Yelp and got bad reviews I decided not to feature the restaurant.Fake reviews or not it influenced me.

    Joy - June 9, 2017

    Hi Kathryn,
    Yes, I guess we are influenced by reviews – whether they’re fake or not!

    Thanks for that great website for spotting fake reviews – it was completely new to me.


Sue Bride - May 28, 2017

I’ve been around long enough (in life and online) to have what I consider a healthy scepticism for online reviews. If a service or product doesn’t have a good number of reviews so that you can discount the overly good and overly bad I take no notice.

For hotels I’m more likely to look at star rating and location than reviews. Restaurants – personal recommendations. Unless it’s a place with a lovely view. Then I don’t really care what the food is like 🙂 With tradesmen again I go for personal recommendations, where possible. I recently needed a new vacuum cleaner and dishwasher. Even after looking at all sites I could find with reviews I wasn’t any clearer. Instead I subscribed to “Choice” a company here in Australia that tests the products and ranks them.

I think if someone is really keen on a product they are more likely to focus on the good reviews and ignore the bad.

    Joy - June 11, 2017

    Hi Sue,

    You make some very good points about reviews.

    Here in the UK we have “Which” – a consumer magazine / website that tests products. It sounds like your Choice. We also have s site called Nextdoor that hooks you up with your neighbours, and these days if I am looking for a tradesperson I would probably ask for word of mouth recommendations rather than trusting review sites – where I have been let down previously.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Lesly Federici - May 28, 2017

Hi Joy,
Great infographic! I think reviews really help to promote a product. I have done some and I know there are people who really make reviewing products a business especially if you’re an affiliate, like Amazon for example. Word of mouth is strong! Potential customers are smart so they want to read the reviews before they buy…

    Joy - June 11, 2017

    Hi Lesly,

    Glad you liked the infographic.

    Amazon and TripAdvisor are two sites where I always check out reviews very carefully before buying. We have so much choice these days that it’s easy to vote with your feet if there are too many negative vibes.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

Edward Thorpe - May 29, 2017

Hi Joy,

Impressive write up and a killer infographic. I do remember your nightmare with the tradesman last year. I had a similar experience with someone recommended by U.S.’s Angie’s List – nonetheless, Angie is still going strong, so my experience must have been an anomaly?

Anyway, I do give honest reviews. I do consider reviews before purchasing things like electronic gadgets, autos and anything I’m not familiar with.

As for entertainment, including dining, I’m still a lone wolf.
Thanks for a good read,

    Joy - June 11, 2017

    Hi Edward,

    Yes, that was a nightmare with the “highly recommended tradesman”. I’m much more suspicious after that.

    I always give honest reviews too, but I must confess that sometimes I am rather remiss. I’m thinking of a pretty poor dining experience I had at a large UK chain a couple of weeks ago. At the time I was all hot and bothered and going to give a poor review… but later I calmed down and didn’t!

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

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